Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Eastern Conference final: Game 3 against Boston Bruins about heart for Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning, for those of you who like to keep count, went 27 days without losing a game.

Its eight-game winning streak came to an end Tuesday at TD Garden in Boston, where the Bruins' 6-5 victory tied the best-of-seven Eastern Conference final at one game apiece.

And just like that, Game 3 tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa became about more than wins and losses. It is, captain Vinny Lecavalier said, about heart.

"It's how you bounce back that shows what kind of team you are and the character you have," he said. "We realize this is a series. You're not going to win all your games. But you have to make sure that you bounce back and play solid in your next game."

To do that, center Steven Stamkos said, "we have to realize what we did wrong."

We heard a lot about how the Lightning lost its "structure" in Game 2. For Stamkos, that meant lapses in defensive zone coverages, getting sticks on pucks and managing the puck. Lecavalier mentioned turnovers.

Coach Guy Boucher said defensemen jumping into the offensive flow at the wrong times was a big reason the Bruins had so many odd-man rushes.

And yes, he added, perhaps the team was a bit overconfident from its long winning streak.

The good news for Tampa Bay, Boucher said, is "these are things we can correct quite easily."

Also working in the Lightning's favor is experience. This isn't the same team that began the postseason with 11 players making their playoff debuts.

It is a team that overcame a three-games-to-one deficit to the Penguins in the East quarter­finals and swept the top-seeded Capitals in the semis.

"We've learned a lot and matured a lot as a team," Stamkos said. "For guys who hadn't been in the playoffs, we know what it's all about now. We realize what it takes to win a series."

Still, it must have been weird for Lightning players to wake up Wednesday morning and deal with some negative emotions for the first time in a month.

"It's part of the game," goaltender Dwayne Roloson said. "It was nice having the string we did, but we have to focus on the next game. We've never been a team that looked in the past. We looked in the future and tried to control the things we could control, and that's what we're going to try to do (today)."

The Bruins will have some say as well, especially if they continue an aggressive forecheck that helped give them a huge advantage in puck possession and offensive-zone time in Game 2. Boston also did a great job getting traffic in front of Roloson, especially on the power play, which scored twice.

"We were moving the puck better. We shot it more," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We just seemed to be more determined as a group."

Safe to say the Lightning will be, too, in Game 3.

"We reloaded emotionally in the first series and the second series, so I don't see this one being any different," Boucher said. "It doesn't mean we're going to win games, but we're for sure going to be more aware of weaknesses we presented in the last game and are going to make sure we don't kill ourselves in the next game. (The Bruins are) already a good team. We don't need to give them more chances than they deserve."

Damian Cristodero can be reached at


Game 3, Lightning vs. Bruins, 8, St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa TV/radio: Versus; 970-AM


Tonight's Game 3 is sold out. Unused team tickets might be released today. Information, 6C

Sign shots

Lightning fans respond to signs erected by the Bruins disparaging all things Tampa Bay. 1A

Bruin back?

Center Patrice Bergeron, out with a concussion, could play tonight. 7C

Playoff poster

Part 1 of a three-piece poster of goalie Dwayne Roloson. 10B

Canucks up 2-0

A wild third period leads Vancouver to a 7-3 win over the Sharks in Game 2 of the West final and a 2-0 series lead. 7C

Eastern Conference final: Game 3 against Boston Bruins about heart for Tampa Bay Lightning 05/18/11 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 5:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays have their chances, but end up with another loss (w/video)

    The Heater

    TORONTO — The litany of games the Rays have given away this season is long enough, arguably too lengthy. So the only way to get to the postseason is make up for some of those losses by grabbing some wins when the opportunity is presented, especially at this time of year when the margin is diminished and the stakes …

    Associated Press
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    You wonder if the scouting reports and/or workload are catching up to rookie RHP Jake Faria. The bottom line wasn't bad again, three runs in 51/3 innings, but he's having to work harder to get there.

  3. Rays journal: Chris Archer eager for eventful final stretch

    The Heater

    TORONTO — RHP Chris Archer takes the mound today for the Rays as they head into the final 40 games of the season with little margin for error as they battle for an American League playoff spot.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) takes a moment on the mound in the second inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, August 6, 2017.
  4. Tim Tebow's slump continues, as does fan support


    CLEARWATER — On July 29, playing against the Charlotte Stone Crabs, Tim Tebow smacked a mammoth three-run homer, helping the St. Lucie Mets cruise to a 10-3 victory at Charlotte Sports Park.

    St. Lucie’s Tim Tebow, shown Monday at Spectrum Field, struggled at the plate Wednesday against the Threshers.
  5. Rays at Blue Jays, 4:07 p.m. Thursday

    The Heater

    Today: at Blue Jays

    4:07, Rogers Centre, Toronto

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Rays info: Toll-free 1-888-326-7297

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: RH Chris Archer (8-7, 3.84)

    JAYS: RH Chris Rowley (1-0, 1.69)